How to enjoy Berlin in the Heart of Winter

Though the German capital might not be your first idea for a winter getaway, it is actually magic under the snow and culturally exciting during the winter months, with film, dance and food festivals, Bauhaus celebrations, and even a fashion week! Here is a list of must-sees and dos in the German capital currently.

Photo: Berlin Partner GmbH/FTB-Werbefotografie

Berlin is today a young and active international city, offering lively nightlife, many cafés, clubs, bars, street art, numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest, and the month of February is particularly sweet for art lovers: from Feb 7th to Feb 11th is held the Berlin Independent Film Festival, which offers plenty of screening and business opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers. The exciting programme of films, workshops and networking events combines the commitment to indie filmmaking ideals with a solid understanding of their potential in the marketplace. All films are screened at the Babylon Cinema in Berlin-Mitte and are in English or with English subtitles. Extra tip: this movie theatre offers midnight movies every Saturday, with a live music orchestra!

Photo: DPA

Held around the same time – Feb 7th to Feb 17th, the Berlinale is the city’s most glamourous event. With more than 400 films shown it attracts the elite of the film industry as well as the largest audience of any film festival in the world. But the festival has much more to offer than just the screening of films. For two weeks, workshops, panel discussions and joint projects encourage collaboration between all the participants. And at the exclusive Berlinale parties, people, art, glamour and business meet.

Dance is also promoted: each year young people aged between 10 and 21 from around the world meet in Berlin to share their love for dancing at the Tanzolymp, a dance event with workshops, seminars and competitions. The main aim of the festival is to support and increase the popularity of dancing, and also provides insight into the variety of dance aesthetics and artistic styles. Another festival, The Days of Dance or Tanztage, is a contemporary dance festival focusing on the discovery and support of up-and-coming choreographers and dancers based in Berlin.

 

Design and architecture are not left out, since 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus design school. For the centenary, many galleries, museums and other institutions in Berlin make the ideas of the Bauhaus visible and tangible, such as “Bauhaus – Modernism around the globe” at Willy Brandt Haus (16 January – 14 March 2019), which exhibits the works of photographer Jean Molitor, who has traced Bauhaus architecture all over the world for over 10 years. He found it not only in Berlin but also in Saint Petersburg, Havana, Casablanca und Guatemala City. The city and its periphery offer a lot of examples of this very recognizable architectural style, especially the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2008.

To enjoy all these festivities to the fullest, Commendable Rentals has selected three extremely elegant apartments, perfect for families traveling together but also great for business travel. Located in the same chic building on Winterfeldstrasse in the Schöneberg area, you can choose the 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom apartment, depending on who you travel with!

The rooms are spacious and very tasteful, with lots of light, deliciously comfortable bedding and fully equipped marble and mosaic bathrooms as well as state of the art kitchens in each property. These apartments are perfect for those who crave space and comfort, in an excellent, central location, next to Potsdamer Platz. The building itself dates back to 1900 and has been lovingly restored to its former glory. It is within walking distance to a great variety of bars, restaurants and shopping, where you can experience the best of this dynamic city. Commendable Berlin offers both the comfort and ease of a hotel and the familiar feeling and facilities of the best home away from home.


From Rome with Love

Most cities around Christmas vie to be the most festive and spirited, but few European capitals are as dedicated to bringing the Winter Wonderland to life as Rome. Whether you arrive in the Eternal City by day or by night, you will be charmed by the crisp yet mild December weather, and the glory of Rome’s winter blue skies. Last minute Christmas shopping rushes, the nonchalant strolls of locals trying to differentiate themselves from the tourists, and of course the Christmas lights, add energy to the glow, as Nativity scenes and Christmas markets pop up all over the city. If you arrive by night, don’t miss a drive pass the majestic and romantic Colosseum; its recently renovated arches are particularly beautiful when lit by spotlights against the dark sapphire blue sky.

The Christmas holiday season in Rome officially starts on December 8, the holiday of the Immaculate Conception, or Immacolata, and ends on January 6 at the Epiphany – when La Befana, a sort of Christmas witch is the lead character – and it is indeed magical: it is a great time to see the city in a -literally- different light and to discover the great Roman Christmas traditions. If you are by yourself, feel free to prep a special playlist for the occasion: Culture Trip has put together a wonderful list of songs inspired by the beauty of Rome, and there in one for every taste and every moment of the day (waking up to Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day by Morcheeba is the absolute guarantee of a good mood all day long)! Though it is holiday season, most shops of the city are usually open -with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, and New Years’ Day- and most of the major sites and monuments that have entry tickets, including the Colosseum, Forum, and Borghese Gallery will all be open on the 26th, despite that day also being a holiday. We recommend planning your visits on the 26th, as the museums and churches will be much less crowded than usual.

Whether it is your first time in Rome or you are a newbie in the city, start your day with a bit of Christmas sightseeing; and whether you are religious or not, you should look for the numerous Nativity scenes scattered around the city: they will surprise you by their artistry, beauty and inventiveness. The major one this year is held of course in Vatican City, but there are beautiful ones in every major and minor church of Rome, which counts more than 900 churches, cathedrals and basilicas. We recommend Santa Maria del Popolo, created and built by famous painter, sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 17th century, Santa Maria in Trastevere in the charming, bohème district which gave it its name, or the Pantheon, to couple historical beacons and Christmas sightseeing.

In the mood for some Christmas shopping? There are a lot of beautiful, eccentric and charming Christmas markets all over town! All neighbourhoods offer something. Vintage pieces and hipster vibes are what the district of Monti is about, and Mercato Monti is the perfect embodiment of its way of life. You may find there the ideal Christmas gifts: clothes, accessories and other artisanal pieces await! Good to know: in December the market doubles in size, promoting more than 50 local talents.

Monti is really a charming neighbourhood, and we happen to have a great apartment there for you to live like Romans do: our  Bella Vita is located near the Colosseum and is the ideal place to rent for a family of 4 or 2 couples. Previous guests describe it best: “The perfect Roman Holiday! Both modern and historic- this was the perfect home base from which to explore Rome”.

Other Christmas markets punctuates the city, find an exhaustive list right here.

After all this wandering, you stomach might start to rumble; fear not! Rome is filled with charming and delicious trattorias and pizzerias, including two of our most favourites: Da Francesco and Fiammetta. Both are located just steps away from the Piazza Navona in the heart of the Historic Centre, and are dear to our hearts. Da Francesco, where the truffle pizza is close to heaven, is located on Piazza del Fico, right in front of Bar del Fico, one of the most popular bars in Rome. There you can sip your spritz or martini while peeping at fashionable locals and waiting for a table. Don’t hesitate to visit their website, as they even provide true Italian recipes should you want to test your cooking abilities back home!

Fiammetta is another true hidden gem: it is in a great location, just around the corner from Piazza Navona, but without the fuss of tourists. The menu is as varied as it is appetizing, with sitting options both inside and out. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-fire oven, as any good pizza should be. Go Italian all the way and try the white pizza with mozzarella covered in salty, peppery endive.

Should you want to celebrate Christmas both at home and in Rome, just stay on Piazza Fiammetta and book our lovely 3-bedroom apartment! Fiammetta is so much better than a hotel: this spacious apartment sleeps up to 6 guests and is beautifully proportioned and elegantly furnished, in a modern yet timeless idiom, blending art and antiques with modern design. Original beamed ceilings and polished terracotta floors underline its historic origins and add warmth to the coolness of the white walls. Cherry on the cake: The kitchen is designed for chefs, so you will be able to try all these wonderful recipes by yourself!

Commendable Rentals has a lovely, extensive collections of palazzi, houses and apartments to rent in Rome, find the perfect place for you and start enjoying your Roman Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

The Commendable Rentals team


Celebrating the start of the cold season in style!

Ah, transitioning into autumn… The ups (putting on your winter coat), the downs (putting away your swimsuits) … Going back to school is always an opportunity to reflect on a busy summer, to make good resolutions … and to prepare for your next holidays! All Saints’ Day is almost here, and let’s not mention Christmas… To give you a little taste of what the colder seasons are all about, we have chosen several destinations, already available for booking throughout Fall & Winter!


We first visited the south of Bavaria (a DRASTIC change after Tuscany!), an hour from the Austrian border, in the region of Traunstein. I can hear you already: Bavaria? During the fall? No, “Oktoberfest” should not be your sole motivation, Traunstein has a few aces up her sleeves!
A discreet destination just a half hour from Salzburg, Austria, Traustein has it all for a mountain holiday – picturesque wooden cabins, sunny peaks, and of course alpine skiing – and it is a very pleasant region as well during the Indian summer, especially if you’re staying in our magnificent chalet… Once settled, you can enjoy the wonderful space our chalet has to offer, take a dive in the swimming pond, or even relax in the sauna!

Our chalet in Traunstein

Fancy a visit? Discover the “Hofbräuhaus”, a famous Traunstein brewery: this year their Open Day is held on October 28, and you can of course visit the brewery and enjoy their beers. Make time as well for Lake Chiemsee, the largest lake in the region -also known as the “Bavarian Sea”- for a pedal boat or boat trip and a visit to the Herrenchiemsee, the magnificent castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who built it as a twin to the Palace of Versailles. We will of course take care of all your reservations on site!

For a ski vacation before, during or after Christmas, our chalet-style apartment in Kitzbühel in Austria or our chalet in Chamonix in the French Savoy are waiting for you: both ski resorts and trendy destinations in the Alps, Kitzbühel and Chamonix have not only the most beautiful ski slopes in the area but many of the treats of great cities as well.


With a dynamic nightlife and very up to date in terms of fashion and shopping, Kitzbühel has certainly taken advantage of its urban and natural assets. In the heart of the historic center, the beautiful shops will lure you into a window-shopping session, and the skiing area counts no less than 170 kilometers of slopes, spread over 60 runs of all levels of difficulty, including the famous Streif on the Hahnenkamm summit, considered by professional skiers and by amateurs as the most difficult, technical and prestigious downhill race in the world. It is certainly not by chance that the Ski World Championship is held there every year! Off-piste and free-ride enthusiasts are also welcome at Hanglalm Park, an extensive Snow Park that hosts competitions several times a year. You can access all of this with just a 10 min walk from “Kitzy”, our beautiful apartment.

French cousin of Kitzbühel, Chamonix is a charming little mountain town, with a historic centre, beautiful boutiques, starred restaurants and of course a great skiing area: 108 kilometres of slopes and off-piste for amateurs: we recommend at least a day in the Vallée Blanche with a guide starting with a hike at Aiguille du Midi if the conditions and your ski level allow it, it is a unique experience!

Another noticeable skiing area is Les Grands Montets, especially for the off-piste. To end on a high note, enjoy the surroundings at the “Hameau Albert 1er”, a grand and romantic 5-star hotel which shelters a splendid spa and a marvelous 2-star restaurant, or visit the Casino in the heart of the city. You can then go home to “Le Chalet”, our beautiful property just a few minutes from the city centre: breath-taking mountains views, terraces, fireplace and even a sauna, Le Chalet has it all for an unforgettable vacation.

Our chalet in Chamonix


Sound of Music landscapes, skiing, relaxation and gastronomy, choose now your favorite winter destination!


A Closer Look at Klosters: Luxury and Adventure for Christmas

New! Last minute availability at a newly reduced price at exclusive Klosters Chalet.
Spend Christmas Week in luxury at 25% off!


Chalet L'Ours

Klosters, Switzerland: A stylish alpine ski village for royalty. Literally. A dreamy experience in Klosters can be yours, with a deal that can save you all the headaches of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Scouring stores to find gifts for family and friends may work out sometimes, but the new gift-giving trend is the gift of experience. Christmas week is still available at fabulous Chalet l’Ours, a luxury chalet minutes from the center of Klosters village, and it’s a perfect gift for everyone, including yourself!

About the Chalet
Klosters is utmost luxury, and Chalet l’Ours contributes to that luxury experience. A sturdy, dark-paned exterior and bursting red shutters standing in contrast to white, powdery snow, Chalet l’Ours is reminiscent of a colorful illustration in classic fairytales. It is one of the last log cabins left in Klosters, retaining an authenticity of a mature and quiet Swiss village. Upon entrance of the chalet, a striking luxury shows through in each corner of the home. Completely refurbished, the four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and common rooms have such intricately pleasant details that it is hard not to marvel at the aesthetics.

The chalet is a short few minute walk to the nearest ski lift, resort center, and restaurant, while only five minutes from the Gotschna cable-car, giving access to all the mountains serviced in Davos Klosters. The full range of luxurious services and delicious food offerings, however, may be enough to persuade spending many nights in comfort at home. A truly wonderful Alpine chalet, a stay at Chalet l’Ours is everything you dreamt of for this year’s holiday.

About Klosters
Klosters Ski Resort

There’s something for everyone in the scenic ski village of Klosters – from world-class skiing in the Swiss Alps to in-room breakfast service and top-notch spas.

Snow activities
Offering some of the most exciting skiing in Europe, Klosters shares its skiing network with the nearby ski resort of Davos, providing over 190 miles (307km) of downhill slopes, 97 individual pistes, served by 52 lifts. For seasoned skiers, the challenges are endless with its extensive off-piste possibilities and excellent local ski guides. However, Klosters offers something that suits every level – from beginners to experts. There are miles of cross-country ski trails, 2 terrain parks and a half pipe available for snowboarders, snow shoeing provides a slower paced thrill to take in the incredible scenery, tobogganing, and almost every snow activity you can imagine.

Plan a romantic ride or delight the kids with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the magical winter landscape of Klosters. Bundle up under a heavy blanket and enjoy the magical silence of the glistening landscape while listening only to the sounds of hooves galloping.

Many winter events occur in Davos Klosters, an earmark of the superb surroundings and active community. Top cross country skiers compete at the FIS Cross Country World Cup in early December, while the ice hockey Spengler Cup tournament falls during Christmas Week until New Year’s Eve. In the peak of the winter season, other events include performances of music featuring figure skating champions, as well as the famous downhill ski race, the Parsenn Derby, highlighting team and individual high standard competitions.

Other activities
If you’re looking to relax, Klosters is known for many luxurious spas, including the magnificent Vereina Spa, set to open right in time for a Christmas stay. The spa is a Roman-inspired theme complete with herbal baths, an elegant pool area, steam baths, salt grotto, ice fountain, relaxation room, and of course offered massages.

Pampering yourself always includes appetizing food. Klosters does not lack delicious food, from charming eateries to Michelin-star restaurants, as well as a village of abundant shops and art galleries to stroll through after a full meal. One of the best indulgences you can partake in, however, is a meal in the comfort of home at Chalet l’Ours. With a roaring log fire and beautifully decorated dining area setting the mood, the chef at Chalet l’Ours creates a meal not to be missed. Start with a sparkling glass of Champagne and delight the senses with savory contemporary fusion like Thai Prawns or creme of cauliflower and truffles. Providing ultimate luxury and comfort brings many guests back to Chalet l’Ours year after year. Make it your year for the exceptional winter vacation you imagined.

 


Top Three Snow Escapes This Winter

Here it is – the top three snow escapes that should be on your radar this winter. We’re delighted to bring you a glimpse of our kind of winter at these must-see destinations. Sharpen those skis and pull out your scarves – mountains and magic awaits.

3. Kitzbühel, Austria – An Alpine Winter Wonderland

Skiing in the Austrian Alps with 170km (that’s 105+ miles!) of ski-ready slopes and 53 cable cars and lifts is an impressive adventure to check off your list. Just north of the Hahnenkamm mountain, host of the annual World Cup alpine ski races, Kitzbühel is amongst the largest ski regions and  most exclusive winter sports resorts in Austria.

Not only beautiful and enjoyable in landscape, the town itself presents everything picturesque; a quaint city nestled against the backdrop of alpine charm. When winter settles into the town, a true winter wonderland offers glimpses in and out of glimmering windows in colorful buildingswith a historic glow and cozy hearths. When not on the slopes, exclusive shopping among the cobblestone streets or a tasty pastry in a cozy cafe, will charm and delight you.

Whether you ski, snowboard, like a brisk winter hike, or prefer the indulgence of fabulous spa treatments, Kitzbühel is your literal breath of fresh air.

A convenient Commendable Rental in Kitzbühel:
Here is your chance to live in the large 4-bedroom penthouse apartment with charming chalet style. It’s one of the biggest and best in town, and it’s right in the center of Kitzbühel. Along with your grand living quarters, the apartment offers fantastic views. The terrace faces south, and from there one can see the famous downhill finishing slope, Streif, of the “Hahnenkamm “race.

With this apartment as your base, you have the perfect location to explore some of the snowy mountains of the Austrian Alps, as well as an elegant and soothing home. Each of the 4 bedrooms has its own en-suite bathroom. There is a separate dining room and a living room with a beautiful, large open fireplace. The apartment is located in the historic center of town, just a stroll away to the ski-lift. The best restaurants and bars are right around the corner, as are Ski rental and ski-school for children. In addition, there is a private ski room for all the ski equipment and garage parking for two cars.

We can also arrange a private cook!

Kitzbühel is so charming!  Find out more details here or below –

Reserve your winter wonderland today

2. Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France – An Adventure in the Alps

The host of the first Winter Olympics, Chamonix and its separate ski stations offer some of the the greatest and most challenging skiing in the world. It is a treasure spot for winter sports, alpine mountaineers, and bikers to get their heart racing in a daring experience among the Alps. The site of one of the highest cable cars in the world brings views of the impressive mountain range and Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

A day on the Glacier of the Vallée Blanche, descending from the “Aiguille de Midi”, is an incredible adventure of Glacier skiing that every serious skier should do at least once in a lifetime. Les Grand Montets offers endless, long runs of challenging skiing, and often superb powder snow. For those easing into the sport, easier slopes are available in the closer slopes of the Brévent and Flégère.

The town of Chamonix offers chic boutiques, restaurants from bistro and brasserie up to the Michelin 2-Starred restaurant at Le Hameau d’Albert Premier (and don’t miss its wonderful spa, either). Spend some time at the Chamonix Casino or shake loose in one of the many French-style or modern bars and nightclubs.

A convenient Commendable Rental in Chamonix-Mont Blanc:
This superb Chalet on a quiet street, a stroll from the center of Chamonix, is flooded with sunlight and enjoys beautiful views of majestic Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi. Decorated in chic but traditional Alpine style, it combines charm, refinement and authenticity in a warm, comfortable, yet totally luxurious environment. This is an exclusive chalet of the highest quality, elegantly decorated and furnished, where daily cleaning and a chef can be supplied on request.

The Chalet can accommodate up to 12 people.  It has two master bedrooms with large balconies or terraces and en suite bathrooms. There are four more double bedrooms, all of which have mountain views and their own bathrooms. The large double living room with fireplace is 70 sq meters. The kitchen is well equipped for serving 12, and opens onto the outdoor dining terrace.

The house is surrounded by a large private garden with tables and chairs for 12 for outside dining.

Other great features include a sauna, perfect for apres-ski relaxation, a large fireplace in the living room, TV in all bedrooms and in the lounge, terrestrial and cable/satellite TV, 3 DVD players, Wi-Fi, Hi-Fi, and even a ski room equipped with boot warmers. Additionally, there is a washer and dryer, plenty of parking, and even a heated driveway. We still have weeks available.

 

Chamonix-Mont Blanc is an esteemed adventure! Find out more details here or below – 

  

Be daring and reserve your adventure today


1. Klosters, Switzerland – A Haven to Be Royalty

Klosters is unique. A picturesque Swiss village with an enviable snow record and many great restaurants. It offers great skiing for all abilities, some of the longest runs (12 km) and most exciting skiing in Europe, thrilling off-piste, as well as the wide open slopes of the famous Parsenn. Renowned for its powder snow and long a favourite with its international clientele (including the British and Swedish Royal families) here is a welcoming haven, family oriented, and away from the mass market.

Klosters shares its extensive skiing network with nearby town of Davos; combined, they offer 190 miles (307km) of downhill slopes, with 97 individual pistes, served by 52 lifts.
 Also in Davos, there is access to over 100 shops, several art galleries, 2 museums, and a casino. Klosters is proud of its many restaurants – both on and off the slopes – from fondue stublis to the Michelin starred.

To relax and unwind, there are many spas as well as the famous one in the Vereina Hotel. There are miles of cross country ski trails as well as skating, sledging (with 7 long sledge runs), horse-riding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, winter polo, snowshoe trekking, snowboarding (with access to a half pipe), paragliding, swimming, bowling, tennis and squash.

A convenient Commendable Rental in Klosters:
Welcome to a wonderful private luxury chalet in the exclusive ski resort of Klosters, Switzerland. Recently named as one of the top 10 private chalets available to rent in Switzerland, it sits on a small hill, with sensational views and a 5 minute walk to the lifts and centre of the village.

One of the last log chalets left in Klosters, this chocolate box of a chalet was completely refurbished in 2006. It has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and sleeps 8 people.
 A superb chef and house keeper will look after your every need, whilst you can relax in front of a roaring fire after a great days skiing.

It now offers cosy sitting rooms, bedrooms with wonderful linen, and three fire-places (one of which can be found in the master bedroom). It also features beautiful balconies and a terrace overlooking the stunning vista of the resort.

Klosters offers the utmost in luxury. We provide daily room service of morning coffee and tea, breakfast in front of the fire, and fresh flowers and newspapers. but that’s just the beginning. Also enjoy personal dining, a private garden, and all the amenities to meet your every comfort.

Klosters is utmost luxury! Find our more details here or below – 

   

Feel like royalty and reserve luxury today




I love Paris in the Winter…..

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in January

I Love Paris in the Winter……….

Paris simply thrills, whether you are a first time visitor, or you have lived here a lifetime. We have arrived on a cold night in January, this time staying on the Ile St. Louis, which has a timeless neighborhood feel and is a stroll away from the little bridge that leads to the Cathedral of Notre Dame on the neighboring Ile de la Cité. I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than the intricate stone tracery of  those flying buttresses, set off, lace-like against the  blue-black night. Or I could not until I entered. No matter what your beliefs, the Cathedral is breath-takingly glorious, and the combination of its soaring arches,  massive monumental columns in the chiaroscuro of candlelight, the wavering perfume of incense, and the voices of a choir, is an evocative experience not to be missed.

When Vernon Duke composed "April in Paris" in 1932, he chose not to call it "January in Paris". But while January may not be the acclaimed time to be in Paris, it is still wonderful. Paris charms and seduces at any time of the year. And in January, the bistros seem cozier, the Museum Expositions more irresistible, and the oysters are in season. And besides, its when they have the best sales! If you are a shopper you won’t want to miss out.

While France, in a gesture of Franco-American solidarity, has just lost its Triple A rating at one of those fine rating agencies that were so prescient about the financial crisis that they helped precipitate, no evidence of the consequences are immediately visible. There is still an accordionist playing "La Mer" at the bridge connecting the Ile St.Louis to the Ile de la Cité, the Louvre is still packed with visitors, the restaurants are still serving delicious food, and Carla Bruni is still feeding her baby at the Elysée Palace.

With the French Presidential election only 4 months away, politics is in the air and on the air, but for a visitor to Paris, it is possible to be unaware of all of that. What you cannot be unaware of is the cornucopia of culture available in this city. Whatever your interest, and whatever your French language skills, Paris has something fascinating for you. From museums devoted to even the most arcane activities, to performances of every kind of art, Paris doesn’t just have it, it flaunts it. And this is January ! Exhibitions at the Grand Palais alone currently include (i) the fascinating exhibition devoted to Gertrude Stein’s and her brothers’ influence and relationship with the great painters of her period, with many works of the likes of Matisse, Picasso and Cezanne on display, (ii) La France en Relief – From Louis XIV to Napoléon III – Relief maps and models of fortified towns were produced for military purposes from the reign of Louis XIV to the end of 19th century. These incredible objects of quality and size shed light on a range of historical phenomena, including the development and setting of borders, siege warfare and fortifications, map-making, and the transformation of the town planning and the landscape, (iii) Hair & Science – Hair is at the same time familiar and mysterious, revealing its secrets and multiple facets in this exhibition. These are followed by further fascinating events over the coming months. At the Louvre, in addition to its unsurpassed permanent collections, special exhibitions include (i) Georgio Vasari – Drawings from the Louvre – to mark the fifth centenary of his birth, the Louvre pays tribute to Giorgio Vasari, Italian painter, architect, and writer, with an exhibition of the finest of his drawings in the museum’s collection, (ii) Fantin-Latour, Manet, Baudelaire: the Hommage à Delacroix – It was 1863, a seminal moment in the history of art in France: the year Manet sparked a scandal with his Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, and the year of Delacroix’s death. Shocked by the lack of official recognition, for the next Salon, Fantin-Latour created his Hommage à Delacroix. At the Musée d’Orsay, special exhibitions include Degas and the Nude and Imressionism and Fashion.

This is the tip of Paris’ cultural iceberg. We cannot spend too much of our time investigating the iceberg further as we have been adding to the Commendable Rental’s portfolio of Paris properties. Andelightful addition is an exceptional property in the 7th arrondissement, a penthouse we have christened, l’Orchidée. It’s close to Les Invalides, and a stroll from the Eiffel Tower. On the 7th floor of an elegant 1932 building, this apartment has balconies over a wide boulevard with a close up view of Les Invalides itself, and a distant view of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre. It is wonderfully decorated, with quality furnishings, refined taste, and stunning modern art. It offers impressive principal rooms with picture windows on both sides, two gorgeous large bedrooms with elegant bathrooms, and an open plan kitchen to die for.

Also,a wonderfully cosy apartment at Le Marais, we’ve called Le Rose Violet. Just two minutes from the magnificent Place des Vosges, this is a charming and attractive romantic hideaway with a library/study that is so comfortable that it might keep you there reading instead of seeing the attractions of Paris.

As the charms of winter give way to the glories of spring, and as the chestnuts begin to blossom, and asparagus fills the markets, so do the Paris activities reach full flower. Vernon Duke’s song will soon be timely. Stay tuned, we will keep you up to date.

Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris Facade

 

30 January, 2012, Susan and Adrian Doull


Ski Time Pleasures, Chalet Treasures

Kloster's Chalet l'Ours

Ski Time Pleasures,  Chalet Treasures  

             ……..  Rediscovering Klosters

 

I have to confess that I am a ski addict and have been since I first buckled into a pair of skis some unnamed years ago. When the first snow comes, I want to tone-up, pack-up and head for one of my favorite mountains.

This year I rediscovered an old friend, Klosters, in Switzerland.The quality of the mountain infrastructure, its lifts, its ski terrain, its snow should put it at the top of anyone’s list as a great ski spot. Klosters earns top marks with its kilometers of pistes and trails, and its endless off-piste possibilities, and its breath-taking high mountain scenery that makes the Alps such a sought-after destination. But Klosters has so much more.

Klosters is a that rare Alpine location where traditional alpine charm, privacy if you want it, a village ambiance, great food, and night life, plus fantastic skiing all come together. The snow this year is extraordinary. Think 5 meters! The variety and extent of the ski terrain is truly stupendous. You will find many days of opportunities for sedate skiers looking for some sun and lunch along with some fresh air and exercise. But there is also plenty of truly challenging off-piste adventures for the experts, who ski anywhere at anytime! We skied with some of those experts, in the company of local ski guides who exchange their summer farming activities for this more sporty and social pastime. The guides were interesting characters themselves, entertaining and of course, so impressive not only in their skiing, but in their knowledge of where every tree and rock might be lurking, and as important, where a cosy restaurant could be found at lunch time !

We skied fast,carving racing turns with Kurt to lunch at the Gotschna Restaurant at Serneus and slightly,frightening powder runs through the trees with Georg to the restaurant at the Parssen Hotel near Kublis. These are charming eateries, thoroughly comfortable and atmospheric family-run places with delicious food. It is understandable that Klosters is and has been a preferred site for European royalty. However, habitués William and Kate were not spotted on this trip.

There is a vibrant social life at Klosters, even in the low season mid-January weeks. We went to see flood-lit Polo in the Snow. Dressed in warm coats, we found flowing champagne and delicious food in a heated tent added to the pleasure ! We enjoyed dinner at the “Wynegg”, a Klosters’s standby with a great Vegetarian platter for non-meat eaters), and typical Austrian dishes, like schnitzel for carnivores. Another night, we ate at the Alpenrosli, which requires a serious taxi drive up the mountain, but results in a gorgeous view over the village. We abstained from sledding down the mountain after dinner – an activity we had undertaken in earlier, less prudent years!

However the highlight of our evenings was dinner at Chalet l’Ours as the guests of its charming and talented owner. She has created what must be one of the most beautiful and delightful private chalets in the Alps, (and its available to rent, fully staffed, to families and small groups, through CommendableRentals. Though steps from the center of Klosters, we enter through a Lantern-lit, snow flanked passage. The chalet offers four luxurious bedrooms, with large, beautiful bathrooms, and inviting details, like fur coverlets. We were charmed. Despite the fascinating guests, one’s eyes could not resist wandering to observe the countless little touches that only someone with talent and taste would have imagined. With knotty-pine paneling throughout, cozy fires, and a delicious dinner cooked and served by the chalet staff, it was a truly luxurious Alpine experience. Dinner started with Champagne and “amuse-bouche” Thai Prawns and a crème of cauliflower and truffles served in front of the fire, and continued to a beautifully laid dining table with candle-lit and picture windows displaying the snowy mountain landscape. The chef was truly talented, and the dinner perfect. 

Situated on a slope that is in the town, Chalet l’Ours,with its dark wood and red-shuttered exterior, has lovely views over the Klosters village and valley, and is just minutes walk from the Gotschna Cable Car. The Chalet is available for rent; it is difficult to imagine a better place anywhere in the Alps. See it now in the CommendableRentals portfolio.

On our last day we were able to see another of the very few private chalet rentals available in Klosters – the Chalet Marmot. This too has been lovingly decorated in an alpine idiom, and is the perfect spot for a large extended family or a group of friends, as it sleeps up to 11. We are very pleased that this too will soon be in the CommendableRentals portfolio.

20 January, 2102, Susan Doull, 


 

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